– Technology makes everything possible. But that’s not what makes the magic happen.
– It’s the human touch that makes everything come to life.
Kent Bråthen, co-founder of Mevo, had worked in sales and retail for many years when he decided to start something new. He had managed a successful streetwear brand and knew a thing or two about what makes a product fly off the store shelves.
One of the most significant things he learned, was the importance of making the people who sell your stuff truly know it — and love it.
– There’s a fine line between hero and zero. I’m always looking for what makes a brand stand out from the rest. What makes people, myself included, prefer certain brands to the next one? asks Kent rhetorically.
Love and be loved
But for now, let’s focus on the very beginning. And the big question: How do you make people love you?
Well, it’s as simple as making them feel seen and heard. Trouble is, it’s not that simple. Especially not when you’re operating in a large market where the distance between two different stores can be a day’s journey. You can’t possibly travel around the country all the time to keep your connections hot and your brand even hotter.
And when you’re not even sure where your presence is needed, you’re looking at a lot of wasted time traveling with little insurance of results.
– In my experience, making the right connection with just one member of the store staff can immediately raise the floor. Even if it is one part-time employee, says Kent.
He has a lot of experience in organizing sales contests to make stores focus on certain brands for a set period of time. Every time he encountered the problem of not being able to track the results in real time. Only after the campaign was over could he get reports that showed that important stores had low participation. Or worse, didn’t even know there was a contest running.
Follow-up was very manual and time-consuming. M
The 2 founding fathers
Kent knew Kristian Grønevet from way back. They grew up in the same town, and their paths crossed again at a time when they both wanted to start something new. Kristian had owned and operated his own design studio since 2001. His experience with creative and commercial customer relations had given him insight to another side of the business world.
Kristian too had organized sales contests, in his case on behalf of clients. He had also worked with solutions to help the brands increase knowledge and ensure the continuing education of store staff.
– I was surprised to see how many huge brands had few if any solutions to make sure the store staff stayed up-to-date on their products. These are details that can give potentially enormous benefits to brands when used correctly, says Kristian.
He had created some very effective tools, completely customized for each client. A process that was both time-consuming and expensive.
– I saw the potential in offering a product that was more off-the-shelf and easily adaptable for different brands, he says.
And that’s where Kent’s and Kristian’s ideas found common ground. Coming at the challenge from two different angles, the two sat down to find an answer: Could there be a better way to organize sales contests?
– It was very inspiring to play out different ideas together. We saw a gap in the market in the retail world. And the more we talked, the more problems we discovered that we could solve with our idea. That was extremely motivating, says Kent.
The idea was a tool that offered an all-in-one solution to:
- facilitate direct communication with store staff.
- create true brand ambassadors and increase their product knowledge.
- organize successful sales contest with real-time updates.
- get an overview of all stores and the full picture of the current sales situation.
Looking the part
Of course, it made sense, being 2015 and all, that the tool they were looking for was an app. An app with a very powerful backend where brands could create campaigns, supervise and do follow-up work.
The two entrepreneurs were convinced that the app would have to look smashing. Yes, the system had to be easy to operate and use, but just as important was the fact that it had to be visually appealing.
Every brand should be able to dress the app according to their profile, with their own logos, images, and tone of voice. Customizing design and content to make each app look and feel like a very recognizable brand became essential for the development of the tool.
The technical part of Mevo is a long story. But even though Mevo is a software company, that’s not where the most important values are built, according to the founders.
– Technology just provides the infrastructure to solve a problem. Yes, technology makes it possible, but it’s the people, the human relations, that make the magic happen! says Kent.
PS. Of course, today Mevo is so much more than a sales contest tool. It quickly came apparent that the framework and gamification dynamics could be applied to a range of other activities: Micro-learning, events, webinars, influencers… the list goes on. Basically any group of key stakeholders could potentially be engaged through this fun and easy platform.